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Should we have compassion for psychopaths?

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posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 10:27 PM
I just got through a heated discussion with a friend. We had to stop because the differences were too much, and the tones were escalating with each passing word.

We were talking about psychopaths. I have come to understand psychopaths as being inhumane people. I'm not talking about a secondary psychopath, I'm talking about the real deal.

Here's why I see them like this. To my understanding, a psychopath has the perspective that only they exist! Other people are inanimate objects meant only to pleasure their every desire. Psychopaths only act in a humane way at times, in order to avoid conflict, and getting there way.

They have cold hearted reasoning, void of insight, and empathy. Their emotions are shallow, never truly experiencing fear, or love. From all of this, I gather they have no conscience whatsoever, and are inhumane, period!

I don't understand why anyone should feel compassion towards someone who doesn't emotionally comprehend the difference between slicing bread, and slicing someones arm.

My friend says that we shouldn't judge them for the way they are born. Well, I think otherwise. I think it's a grave mistake to assume all Homo sapiens have a conscience. I think conscience is what makes us act humanely, naturally.

What do ATS members think? Should we not judge a psychopath for the way they were born?

+8 more 
posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 10:29 PM
I thought we do show compassion, We make them Presidents

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 10:36 PM
reply to post by unityemissions

The only problem with being overtly lenient and tolerant of psychopaths, is that's exactly what fuels them.

They see an opportunity, and they will take it.

I'm not suggesting we be flat out cruel to them, but I definitely think we all need to understand what fuels psychopathic behaviour, and how to respond to it in a way that doesn't add more to their fire.

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 10:42 PM
all you can do is feel bad for them. but at the same time you have to treat them like everyone else. if they cross the line point it out and maybe send them to jail or mental hospital because of their decisions.

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 10:43 PM
For each psychopath that believes we are all inanimate (for example), there's probably a person who's purpose in life is to provide the illustration of humanity. I'd say let him live if someone witha "proper" record thought they could talk him out of his insanity and was willing to pay for his treatment. If not (and that probably would rarely happen), let'em be killed. I think that people who wanted to keep these guys alive wouldn't want to if the money to feed/et. them came directly out of their pockets. And also, there's people that don't believe in evil like you describe...they're almost just as crazy in a way....

Edit: Wow I just came out of this "consensus reality" thread that's active right now you all should check that out then apply it to this thread it's a nice mindjob.

[edit on 1-3-2009 by heyo]

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 10:46 PM
reply to post by GENERAL EYES

Thanks for the perspective. I'm not suggesting we be cruel to them either. I think we should understand that they don't act humanely for anyone else but their self. They calculate the best way to maximize what they want, regardless of how it effects others.

I just can't put someone who thinks/feels like this on the same bar as anyone else with a conscience. I can't help but think of them as animals. Is this cold of me?

I'm a pretty sensitive and understanding guy, but these people are just that twisted!

[edit on 1-3-2009 by unityemissions]

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 10:46 PM
Well, I understand perfectly well that Crocodiles are deadly.
I understand they eat people.

And sure, some part of me thinks, "they have a right to live too" and "everything eats, they just happen to include humans. But it's not like it's personal."

But that's really the problem. It's not personal. If it were personal, there would be some chance for change, some place for meeting in the middle on a perspective.

It's not personal to psychopaths or to crocodiles. So really you have a few choices. You can stay away from them. You can attempt to contain them so their damage is minimized. Or you can kill them so you don't have to worry about them anymore.

Of course if you apply that to humans, then you are (a) making pretty huge decisions about someone's nature which may not be accurate, and (b) likely sending yourself to prison for the rest of your life. So there's that to consider.

But as an armchair topic, where we aren't actually dealing with legal and social repercussions, I think the basic reality of it is that they are a deadly animal, that is either parasitic or predatory, usually both. Humans survived those kinds of creatures historically by dealing with them harshly.

We're just facing them in our own species in numbers like never before. Not sure how we're going to survive them this time around.

Regardless of the solution or survival of it, feeling badly about it, sorry or compassionate or guilty or anything else, is really pointless. They don't really care how you feel about them, any more than crocodiles do.


[edit on 1-3-2009 by RedCairo]

[edit on 1-3-2009 by RedCairo]

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 10:49 PM
Okay, I feel the need to point out the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath, just in case some people aren't aware.

A sociopath can be rehabilitated. It's a mixture of genetic abnormalities and environmental factors. I can entirely understand building empathy, and compassion for a sociopath. A sociopath has a partial conscience, that gets turned on and off constantly.

A psychopath is incapable of having a conscience. It's beyond their comprehension! They will never be "rehabilitated" because they were never with conscience!

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 10:52 PM
I consider myself a pretty compassionate person. If it were one of my close relatives who was the psychopath, yes, I'd have compassion. If it was someone that I was not emotionally tied to, then no.

I'm being honest, even if it sounds terrible.

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 10:57 PM
How do you define someone who can be rehabilitated from someone who can't? I'm sure there's physical manifestations these things take on but I doubt they can accurately predict one's sanity simply by taking a pic of a person's brain can they? Seriously if they can that's badass.

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 11:05 PM
reply to post by heyo

I think they have found correlations with psychopaths vs normals in an MRI, but I don't think that alone could identify one. You can figure out a psychopath by the fruit (or lack there of) of their deeds. As stated, these people truly perceive that they alone exist. All others are not, they are just objects.

I've known a few psychopaths. A couple became friends. I'm naturally inclined to help people. Not trying to boast, it's just how I am. They seek out nice people to take advantage of. Ever met someone who ALWAYS complained, in a rather insanely selfish, and unjustified manner? You either just found a sociopath or a psychopath!!

The difference is a sociopath will snap out of it sometimes, and gain conscience with the ability to sympathize and empathize.

Rehabilitated is just a word for having you conform within a couple deviations of norm or so. I don't think there is a norm, so to speak, but the point is that a true psychopath will never gain conscience.

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 11:09 PM
Yes but if the difference between a sociopath, which you're all for, and a psychopath, who gets the chop, is that one can be rehabilitated, that simply means there must be a way of telling if they'll ever be rehabilitated or not. If not, there's no way of telling, and you're deciding based on something that can't be proven???

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 11:13 PM
reply to post by unityemissions

That's good to do that. People in a lit room don't need more light.

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 11:15 PM
I've had to give this some serious thought lately due to some disturbing headlines regarding abuses/murder of children.

I'm a tree hugging liberal thus, I oppose the death penalty. My rational being I beieve scientist one day will be able to prove that those psychopaths who especially have homicidal tendacies have frontal lobe disorders. Just as people wrote off insanity to demonic possesions. If this indeed a physcial problem it doesn't seem just to hold the pitying soul who inhabits the damaged body.

My emotions challenged my logic as of late with the recent child murder cases. One in particular which we've all heard so much of... I was ready to throw out my own personal values over this one - going around my kitchen chanting 'needle needle needle.' It gave me much pause as to where do we draw the line. I had to take off my mommy hat and return to my scientific, critical thinking. I'd still like to throw em in the street and have BYOB party - bring your own bat.

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 11:16 PM
Compassion is not something that a healthy human being will find debatable. We must have compassion or we are no different than the psychopath.

That is, after all, the thing they lack.

Mental problems are a fact of life. ATS is a prime example of this. Hell, I'm a prime example of this.

You should have compassion for all the life you encounter.

That doesn't mean you have to put up with their bull#, Only that you have compassion for them.

Smile when you drop that trap door and hang their a$$, Tell them you actually love them when you throw that switch on the electric chair, Explain that the world will be a better place when you gas them.

EVERYONE is a little screwed up in the head. EVERYONE!

Whether you are doing the hanging or getting hanged simply depends on who brought up the charges.

Think about it......

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 11:19 PM
reply to post by heyo

Okay, forget the word rehabilitated. I don't like that term. The difference is that they are incapable of acting humanely in accordance with conscience.

I don't know that it's possible to know the difference between a sociopath and psychopath, except through continuous interaction with them. A sociopath will switch back and forth. You can see that they still have insight into their condition, and wisdom of how to treat others, at times.

The way I've learned to notice it in both of my friends was that they NEVER understood doing something for someone else, if it wasn't calculatedly in their benefit somewhere in the immediate future. Not sometimes. NEVER!! It's beyond their comprehension!

So, I don't think that you can tell right off the bat. Most people would say, "leave it for a professional", but I think otherwise.

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 11:29 PM
reply to post by mrwupy

I respectfully disagree. While psychopaths lack compassion, the root of their lack is conscience. It's more encompassing than just compassion.

Conscience is what makes us human, so they are not! They are people, but more animal than human. In fact, I'll go as far as to say nothing more than an intelligent higher-order animal. It may seem cold, but I think this is true, and challenge anyone to debate this.

I do have empathy for all life. My point was that they are, in reality, no more empathetic then....say a tree, or a toad. While it may exist in minute amounts, it's so small that they just might decide to chop your head off, if you look at them funny, and they think they can get away with it!

The amount of empathy I have for psychopath, is equivalent to poison ivy. Toxic substance that while alive, has a net negative effect to my well being.

Also, you say smile while screwing them over. How is that compassionate? I wouldn't do that! To me, that would be a sociopathic tendency.

[edit on 1-3-2009 by unityemissions]

[edit on 1-3-2009 by unityemissions]

[edit on 1-3-2009 by unityemissions]

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 11:31 PM
I like the way the other poster put it....feel compassion for their situation but we have no obligation to extend it. I don't know if anyone isn't a bit sociopathic, but it seems to me that these days our culture is getting to be almost based on selfishness? At worst we'll be able to identify the problem easier and maybe we can remedy it. Takes on to know one type thing.

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 11:38 PM
This is a very interesting question. I am Buddhist and have wrestled with this question in a real and concrete fashion because of the facts of my personal biography and the situation where I live.

In Buddhism there is only one criterion for receiving compassion. One must be a sentient being. It is the duty of an evolving Buddhist to extend or rather, to radiate compassion to all sentient beings. In Buddhism, at the highest level, compassion is love.

I'm sure anyone of any backround can appreciate that loving all sentient beings is a tall order.

In Buddhism, all sentient beings are considered to have what is referred to as "Buddha nature." In simple terms there is no essential difference between any sentient being and oneself. The only differences between any sentient being and oneself are circumstantial and all of these differences can and will be resolved in the long term.

The "long term" could be many lifetimes.

My own theory on consciousless psychopaths is that they are "new humans", having just transitioned from the animal realm, i.e., basically animals in human bodies. They might however also be demonic beings who have achieved human birth through some karmic cause.

This is a huge topic really. It leads in all directions. People new to the intellectual milieu of eastern spirituality will be sceptical of course, but these attitudes and views are not taken lightly by Buddhists. Increased experience of meditation starts to fill in the dots between what the mind regards as intuition and what it finally realizes and perceives is fact.

If you think being compassionate to a psychopath is difficult, try being compassionate to a psychopath who shares living space with you in a meditation center. It's a long trip.

posted on Mar, 1 2009 @ 11:39 PM
It was explained to me that the main difference is that a psychopath will stop short of killing himself to achieve his goals. A sociopath will die to complete his goal if he has to do so to complete them.

Now that does not mean that a psychopath will not commit suicide, just that generally they will omit plans that they could die in the process.

Oddly enough, a sociopath tends to be narcissistic and are better at faking social interaction. Ultimately they are more creative due to their higher risk taking nature and inability to deal with boredom.

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